High-tech weapon detecting scanners may soon be deployed throughout the transit system in New York City to identify individuals carrying a gun in the subway.
While the machines have the capacity to scan large numbers of people, they need to be operated by humans to confront and apprehend those illegally carrying firearms.
The large number of people needed to operate the scanners throughout New York’s massive subway system would be a “logistical nightmare” for law enforcement officials, retired New York Police Department captain James Dooley told the Associated Press.
“You’re going to have to tie up a lot of officers doing this,” he said. “We have hundreds of stations, and the fact of the matter is that putting someone at every entrance to every station is logistically impossible.”
Despite the logistical impediments, the gun detecting surveillance system is worth trying, Mayor Eric Adams contends.
“We want to be able to just pop up at a station someplace, people don’t know it’s there, and be able to, as people go through, Adams told reporters on May 23. “Similar to what we do when we do car checkpoints. So we are working on all the legality.”
Adams is also in negotiation with Port Authority to allow to place the gun-detecting scanners at bus terminals to prevent southerners from making their way into New York with their guns.
“We’re already doing spot bag checks. We’re trying now to negotiate with the Port Authority to allow us to place scanners at the bus terminals because many of these guns are coming from the south into our city. So we have to stop the flow of these guns. And so we are still doing spot bag checks. And we want to extend that to our Port Authority Bus Terminals, because we think we can stop the flow, or deter people from coming in, bringing these guns,” he said. “Especially in Georgia, and in the south, they’re coming up through I-95 right into our city.”
Adams also called for gun detecting machines in April, after a gunman set off smoke bombs and opened fire on a train in Brooklyn while going on a tirade about race wars and gun violence, wounding 13 passengers.
“We have identified several new technologies that are not like metal detectors that are used at airports, where you have to empty your pockets and go through a long line to get in,” Adams told WNYC. “You just walk normally through the system. It is not even detectable that the devices are there. And we think there is some great promise in this technology, and we are going to continue to explore that.”
“We’re not at the place of full implementation, but we are excited about what we have witnessed thus far. And we’re going to be looking to do a few pilot projects to see the full use of it,” he said.
Adams is also using facial recognition surveillance tools to detect guns.
“There are new models that are being used … at ballparks, hospitals,” he told MSNBCS’s Morning Joe. “We believe we have a technology that we can use in the subway system that many passengers are not even going to be aware that they are walking past a device that could detect weapons and we are excited about the possibilities and I’m not going to leave any legal technology off the table when it comes down to keeping New Yorkers safe.”
While the Democrat mayor calls for weapon surveillance technology, New York City already has the most stringent gun laws in the country with the highest crime rates.
New York City’s gun laws include a ban on “high capacity” magazines and “assault weapons, a permit requirement to buy a handgun, a reg flaw law, “ghost gun” regulations, gun storage requirements and universal background checks. Mike Bloomberg-affiliated Everytown for Gun Safety ranks New York No. 3 in the nation “for gun law strength.”
Yet, “shooting in New York City rose during 2022’s first quarter compared with the same period last year,” the New York Times reports.
Following the institution of New York State’s bail “reform” law, defunding police and an unprecedented police staffing shortage following Covid vaccine mandates, New York City has recorded a 42.7 percent increase in major crimes this year through April 24 compared to the same period in 2021, according to statistics released by the New York Police Department.